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The Truth About Homeowner Equity

by Melissa Dierks

A recent article from a reputable news source was titled: Here’s why some homeowners still can’t sell. In the opening bullets of the article, the author claimed, “Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.” The article then goes on to soften that stance but we want to bring better clarity to the equity situation.

A recent report from CoreLogic (which was quoted in the article) revealed that over 80% of all homes now have “significant equity,” which means the home has over 20% equity. That level of equity allows the homeowner to sell their home if they so desire. (There was no reference to significant equity in the article.)

If eight out of ten homeowners now have significant equity in their homes, it is hard to make the claim that lack of equity is “one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.”

Here is a map showing the percentage of homes in each state which currently have significant equity:

The Truth About Homeowner Equity | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are one of many homeowners who is debating selling your home and are wondering how much equity you have accumulated, let’s get together to determine if now is the time to list.

If you're looking to buy, sell or invest in the Phoenix and surrounding areas, call The Regal Team.

Melissa Dierks

Owner, The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

623-229-0154

melissa@theregalteam.com

 

Source: Keeping Current Matters and CoreLogic

Tips for Lowering Heating Bill

by Melissa Dierks

5 Tips For A Lower Heating Bill

Keeping a home warm during the colder months of the year can prove to be expensive. With energy costs on the rise, many households are facing higher energy bills each year.

Fixr.com, which provides "Cost Guides" of estimates to common household remodeling projects, highlights five projects to help increase a home’s energy efficiency and keep utility bills lower. (Fixr.com also provides cost estimates below of the projects listed.)

1. Find unorthodox heat sources. More efficient sources of heat are available, particularly if the home is in a milder climate or if the home can be broken into zones.

A heat pump can help lower your electric bills by 50 percent if you currently use electricity to heat your home. Heat pumps cost about $7,500, but will pay for themselves with reduced energy costs. Switching to a geothermal heat pump will save you even more. According to Money Crashers, geothermal heat pumps qualify for a tax credit equal to 30 percent of equipment and installation costs, with no upper limit. Pumps are also frequently paired with things like radiant heat flooring in specific areas of the home, as they are more effective at using energy than either baseboards or radiators and can help supplement the heat in smaller spaces.

Radiant heat costs between $6,000 and $14,000 if covering your whole home, but you can often install it in a single room for around $700. Paired with a heat pump, this will keep your home warm while significantly lowering your energy bills.

2. Add extra insulation. The amount of insulation that your home needs is directly tied to the type of heat source you have. Many homes are actually underinsulated for their climate and their heat source, resulting in their furnaces or radiators having to work harder than they need to and causing a spike in energy bills.

Insulating even a single room in your home can dramatically increase comfort and help you lower your thermostat, resulting in smaller bills. Adding insulation to your attic can also help you prevent costly and damaging ice dams as well, saving you even more. The cost to insulate a single room in your home is around $1,200 to $1,800, and will recoup about 107 percent of the cost at time of resale, making this one of the best improvements you can do for your home.

3. Take care of your furnace. Furnaces are one of the most commonly used ways to heat large homes. Unfortunately, they often have a wide range of efficiency that could be costing you more in monthly bills than they need to.

If your furnace is less than 10 years old, make sure to schedule regular maintenance to keep it running at peak efficiency. This involves changing the filter and making repairs as necessary. The most common furnace repair involves replacing the heat exchange, for around $1,000 to $1,700.

If your furnace is older than 10 years, replacing it can dramatically increase its efficiency. Older furnaces only run at around 50 percent efficiency, while newer models can reach rates of 90 percent, making them a much better choice for keeping monthly bills down. A new furnace costs around $3,000 to $5,000, but will pay for itself in lowered bills over time.

4. Make the switch to gas. If you’re currently heating your home with electricity or oil, you’re likely spending more each month than you would if you switched to natural gas. Gas furnaces are much more efficient than oil or electric heaters, which can save as much as 30 percent on energy bills each month.

The cost to install a new gas system in your home is around $6,000 to $8,000, assuming you have ducts already in place. This upgrade makes the most sense if your current heating system is over 10 years old, as you’ll see the largest gains. The typical ROI of a new gas furnace system is around 15 percent, which means that it will pay for itself in just 6 years.

5. Complete an energy audit. Your home may be losing a great deal of the energy you use to heat it, without you even realizing it. An energy audit—or a comprehensive look at how your home uses and loses energy—will help you find ways to make your home more efficient overall.

An energy audit costs about $150, and many times this cost will be rolled into any upgrades you may choose to make, allowing you to save more. Conducting an energy audit before you have any other work or upgrades done on your home can help you make better informed decisions about the space, maximizing your potential efficiency and savings.

If you're looking to buy, sell or invest in the Phoenix or surrounding area, call The Regal Team today.

Melissa Dierks

Owner, The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

623-229-0154

melissa@theregalteam.com

Source: Fixr.com

4 Reasons to Sell This Fall!

by Melissa Dierks

Millionaire to Millennials - BUY NOW!

by Melissa Dierks

 

Millionaire to Millennials: Buy a Home Now! | MyKCM

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that “the single biggest mistake millennials are making” is not purchasing a home because buying real estate is “an escalator to wealth.”

Bach went on to explain: “If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none. The average homeowner to this day is 38 times wealthier than a renter.”

In his bestselling book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” Bach does the math: “As a renter, you can easily spend half a million dollars or more on rent over the years ($1,500 a month for 30 years comes to $540,000), and in the end wind up just where you started — owning nothing. Or you can buy a house and spend the same amount paying down a mortgage, and in the end wind up owning your own home free and clear!”

 Who is David Bach? Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists. He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial TimesWashington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.

Bottom Line: Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

If you're looking to buy or sell in the Phoenix or surrounding areas, call The Regal Team today!

Melissa Dierks

Owner of The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

20241 N 67th Ave, Glendale, AZ 85308

Direct:   623-229-0154

Email: melissa@theregalteam.com

Web: www.theregalteam.com

VA Refinancing - Beware of Scams

by Melissa Dierks

Refinance Scams Target Military Vets

The federal government is investigating a number of predatory lending schemes targeting thousands of veterans who have Veterans Administration mortgages. Officials say the scams aim to convince borrowers to repeatedly refinance, ultimately paying more on their loans. Some lenders also are being accused of using teaser interest rates, “cash out” windfalls, and lower monthly payments, using marketing materials that sometimes resemble Department of Defense information, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Veterans reportedly are being overwhelmed with misleading refinance offers—sometimes refinancing properties multiple times in a year. “We’re seeing borrowers refinance three times in less than six months, and their loan balances are going up,” says Michael R. Bright, acting president of VA loan giant Ginnie Mae. The Department of Veterans Affairs has teamed with Ginnie Mae to create a task force to investigate such cases.

Ginnie Mae investigators have found that these refinancing offers often prompt homeowners to switch from a long-term fixed-rate mortgage to a riskier short-term adjustable-rate loan. The borrowers then find that the principal amount they owe to the lender has increased by thousands of dollars. In some cases, borrowers added $12,000 to their total loan amount in order to reduce their monthly payments by $165. Ginnie Mae economists say it would take more than six years just to break even on such a deal. VA home loans often have no down payment requirements.

The VA warned that lenders who make “improper charges or fees” that lead to foreclosure will face stiff penalties. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to fine and sue lenders who propagate these abuses.

Source: “Government Cracks Down on Home Refinancing Scheme Targeting Veterans,” Chicago Tribune (Sept. 26, 2017)

If you'd like more information or if you're looking to buy a home in Phoenix or surrounding areas, please contact The Regal Team today!
Melissa Dierks
The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals
7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101, Glendale, AZ 85308
623-229-0154
www.theregalteam.com

If you'd like more information or if you're looking to buy a home in Phoenix or surrounding areas, please contact The Regal Team today!

Melissa Dierks

The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101, Glendale, AZ 85308

623-229-0154

www.theregalteam.com

No, You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW!

by Melissa Dierks

The Aspiring Home Buyers Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is required to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The results of the survey show that non-homeowners cite the main reason for not currently owning a home, as not being able to afford one.

This brings us to two major misconceptions that we want to address today.

1. Down Payment

NAR’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 39% of non-homeowners say they believe they need more than 20% for a down payment on a home purchase. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO® Scores

An Ipson survey revealed that 62% of respondents believe they need excellent credit to buy a home, with 43% thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO® scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in August had a credit score of 752, while FHA mortgages closed with a score of 683. The average across all loans closed in August was 724. The chart below shows the distribution of FICO® Scores for all loans approved in August.

No… You Do Not Need 20% Down to Buy NOW! | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, let’s sit down to help you understand your true options.

If you'd like more information or if you're looking to buy a home in Phoenix or surrounding areas, please contact The Regal Team today!

Melissa Dierks

The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101, Glendale, AZ 85308

623-229-0154

www.theregalteam.com

5 Fall Maintenance Tips to Share With Clients

by Melissa Dierks

The changing of the season brings several household tasks your clients should perform to keep their home safe as colder temperatures approach. Realtor.com® recently featured several chores to do for fall and winter preparation.

  1. Clean the dryer vents. Excess lint in a dryer can pose a fire risk. “A key indicator of a dryer vent needing to be cleaned is if clothes aren’t drying as fast as they usually do, or if it takes multiple cycles to get them completely dry,” says Maria Vizzi of Indoor Environmental Solutions. Homeowners can prevent buildup by emptying out the lint trap after every single load. Estimated cost: Calling in a professional will run you $90-$180.
  2. Store the hose. In colder climates, be sure to drain and store the garden hose before the first frost. “Hoses with water in them will freeze and burst,” says Lisa Turner, author of House Keys: Tips and Tricks from a Female Home Inspector. For extra protection, install a foam insulator cover over each external faucet. Estimated cost: Calling in a plumber to fix leaky or damaged faucets could be around $150 to $300.
  3. Conduct a thorough fall cleaning. “Open those windows up wide and do a thorough fall cleaning of your home that includes dusting areas that don’t always make the cut, like ceiling fans and ceiling corners,” says home organization guru Marty Basher. Wash draperies, dust blinds, and remove window screens and give them a good wash. Estimated cost: A professional house cleaning service might charge $100 or more, depending on where you live and the size of your home.
  4. Seed your lawn. “After a long, hot summer, your lawn could probably use a bit of extra TLC, and seeding is proven to be the most effective way to repair damage,” says Bryan Raehl, general manager of Agronomic Lawn Management in Virginia Beach, Va. Seeding before the first frost will allow the seeds to take root and give your lawn a head start in the spring. Estimated cost: Between $250 and $1,300 for a professional landscaper to winterize your lawn.
  5. Clear the gutters and downspouts. These direct water away from your home, and it’s important to make sure they are functioning. Check the gutters for leaf blockages. Clear away leaves, pine needles, and twigs from the gutters. Examine downspouts for any damage or loose pieces. Use a hose to flush out debris and to make sure it’s working properly. Estimated cost: $150 for a more thorough inspection and cleaning.

Source: “Check Yourself: 7 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle in October,” realtor.com® (Oct. 2, 2017)

If you'd like more information or if you're looking to buy a home in Phoenix or surrounding areas, please contact The Regal Team today!

Melissa Dierks

The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101, Glendale, AZ 85308

623-229-0154

www.theregalteam.com

You don't want to hear this from your Listing Agent

by Melissa Dierks
You Don 't Want to Hear This from Your Listing Agent | MyKCM

 

You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:


  • Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
  • Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
  • Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset

An agent must be concerned first and foremost with you and your family to garner that degree of trust. Make sure this is the case.


Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by: 

  • Bragging about their success
  • Bragging about their company’s success

An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of your house. However, you first need to know that they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.


Look for someone with the heart of a teacher’ who comes in prepared to explain the current real estate market to you, and is patient enough to take the time to show you how it may impact the sale of your home; not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are. 

You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.

If you'd like more information or if you're looking to buy a home in Phoenix or surrounding areas, please contact The Regal Team today!

Melissa Dierks

The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101, Glendale, AZ 85308

623-229-0154

www.theregalteam.com

Source: Keeping Current Matters

Fall May Be Best Time for Buyers to Move

by Melissa Dierks

A slower fall season in home buying may help more lingering home buyers to jump in.

Prices are easing somewhat. For the second month in a row, the median price of an existing home dropped. It reached $253,500 in August, after reaching a record high of $263,300 in June, according to the latest data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Read more4 Home Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Now 

“Median sales prices typically decline a bit heading into the fall,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Summer is a big time for home purchases, so that families settle in before school starts in the fall. In the fall, the types of homes that sell are smaller for people without kids. So they tend to be less expensive.”

Existing homes are proving to be a bargain compared to newer homes. The median price of a new home reached $313,700 in July, which is 23.7 percent higher than an existing home.

Home buyers may find attractive mortgage rates this fall. Mortgage rates are still under the 4 percent psychological threshold, which can be a luring incentive for borrowers. Freddie Mac reported last week that the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.78 percent, holding steady at a 2017 low.

Studies have shown that fall can be the best time to buy. A study conducted by RealtyTrac in 2015found that October was the best month for home buyers. Purchasers in October paid 2.6 percent below the estimated market value at the time for their home, according to the analysis. In other words, buyers interested in a $300,000 home tend to see a $7,800 discount on it in the fall. Oct. 8 was found to have the best day for bargains too, with an average of 10.8 percent below estimated market value, according to the study.

Home sales in August started to decline heading into the fall season. Sales of existing homes fell 1.7 percent from July to August, but NAR mostly blamed the decrease on the limited number of listings for sale on the market.

Properties are staying on the market for less time, so buyers will need to be ready to act fast. Fifty-one percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR. Properties typically stayed on the market for just 30 days in August.

If you'd like more information or if you're looking to buy a home in Phoenix or surrounding areas, please contact The Regal Team today!

Melissa Dierks

The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101, Glendale, AZ 85308

623-229-0154

www.theregalteam.com

Source: “Why It’s a Better Time for Buyers on a Budget to Purchase a Home,” realtor.com® (Sept. 20, 2017)

Why Are So Few Homes for Sale?

by Melissa Dierks
Why Are So Few Homes for Sale? | MyKCM

There is no doubt that the largest challenge in today’s housing market is a lack of housing inventory for sale. This challenge has been defined as an “overwhelming lack of supply,” and even a “straight up inventory crisis.”

First American just released the results of a survey which sheds light on the reasons for the current lack of supply.

The survey asked title agents and real estate professionals to identify what they believe are the top reasons for this lack of inventory in their markets. Here are the results of the survey:

  • 47% – existing homeowners are worried that they will not be able to find a home to buy
  • 26.5% – first-time buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes
  • 11.3% – existing homeowners’ mortgage rates are lower than the current rates
  • 10.6% – insufficient or negative equity in the home
  • 4.6% – foreign buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes

As the survey revealed, there is a shortage of current homeowners willing to put their homes on the market for one of three reasons (see numbers 1, 3 and 4 above).

Is this an opportunity for some homeowners?

The report on the survey explains:

“The crowd has spoken, and it seems in many markets home buyers and sellers alike are ‘imprisoned’ by the lack of housing inventory.”

That leaves a tremendous opportunity for every homeowner not facing these concerns. If you can put your home on the market today, you are subject to far less competition than at any time in recent history. That will result in your home selling quickly and for the highest possible price.

Bottom Line

While many homeowners are feeling imprisoned for multiple reasons, those who are not handcuffed by these concerns have a once in a lifetime opportunity to sell their houses at a peak selling time.

 

If you'd like more information or if you're looking to buy a home in Phoenix or surrounding areas, please contact The Regal Team today!

Melissa Dierks

The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals

7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101, Glendale, AZ 85308

623-229-0154

www.theregalteam.com

Source: Keeping Current Matters (https://goo.gl/PLkBy4)

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 295

Contact Information

Photo of The Regal Team Real Estate
Melissa Dierks
The Regal Team of RE/MAX Professionals
7111 W Bell Road, Suite 101,
Glendale AZ 85308
Direct: (623)229-0154
Office: (623)643-1092
Fax: (623)201-7562

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